November 26, 2014
Today Scott and I went to the KOP clinic for our next parent meeting. This was Scott’s first time visiting the clinic and meeting our KOP doctor. For the last month, he has been doing what daddies do, working to provide for us. There were a few days this month he wanted to take off, but we knew it would be better if he went to work. Daddies have a tough job and Scott is an awesome daddy.
The last 30 days were called Induction. This was Phase 1 of the cancer treatment. We gave Theo steroids and antibiotics at home and he received chemo every Friday at the clinic. We went 2 -3 times a week to have his counts checked, never sure if he would need another blood transfusion. By the end of Induction, Theo has gained an uncomfortable amount of weight. He spends the entire day on the couch and has to be carried up the stairs. They kept telling us Induction would be hard, and now we better understand.
For Theo, the results of Induction are perfect. According to a computer program, no cancer cells are visible in his blood, spinal fluid or bone sample. That’s when they use the word remission. However, they know for sure that Theo still has cancer cells hiding somewhere, they just can’t prove it. If he were to stop treatment now, the cancer would multiply and return in full force.
Remission is a funny thing. I used to think that meant the cancer was over, that the person had won the battle. After our parent meeting today, I now understand that our battle has just begun.
Phase 2 is called Consolidation. This phase is dedicated to protecting Theo’s brain. For boys more than girls, there is a strong link between leukemia and brain cancer. The best way to treat the brain is through the spinal fluid. Starting tomorrow Theo will have a spinal tap every Friday until Christmas. He will receive a dose of chemo directly into his spinal fluid to treat any hiding cancer cells around his brain. He has already received this medicine 3 times without incident, so it seems to me that it could be a quiet month. We could use a quiet month.
Our doctor walked us through the plan for each month until June. If Theo stays the course, March and April will be his most difficult months. They will blast him with chemos he hasn’t had yet, wait for him to recover, and then blast him again.
Theo’s aggressive treatment plan should be complete by August. He will then begin a maintenance plan of chemotherapy in September, which will last until he’s 7 years old.
These are the facts as I remember them, but my brain has yet to fully comprehend everything. So much of this will be unpredictable, so unique to Theo and how his body responds. It’s kinda scary for us to think ahead. I guess we’ll take it one day at a time, as they say. We signed the permission forms, and now we’re ready for Friday, Day 1 of Consolidation.